Full, printable rules are available in this downloadable zip file.
I’m a big fan of home-brew rules, and last year I was faced with a challenge that I simply couldn’t resist. My older brother was putting together an intermittent HeroQuest campaign and invited me to oversee things as Zargon (a dumbed down dungeon master, for what is essentially a board game version of Dungeons and Dragons). I used to play the hell out of HQ when I was younger so I eagerly jumped at the opportunity to re-enter the “world of magic” to do some “high adventuring.”
The problem? There were a total of six people vying to participate in the campaign and HeroQuest has a hard cap of five players. In addition to Zargon, the game assigns four hero roles: the mighty Barbarian, the stalwart Dwarf, the spell-flinging Wizard, and the slightly less magical but still rather enchanted Elf. There simply aren’t enough fantasy stereotypes to go around!
So step one was to create another hero; one that would allow another player to join in the game without creating too many redundant roles. After some thought I decided to go with a classic fantasy stereotype, the brave and pious Paladin.
The Paladin – much like the Elf – is a hybrid hero. He has enough body points and equipment access to be useful in a fight, but is restricted to attacking foes straight on. His general immobility is offset by a potent array of clerically-themed spells; ones that are designed to aid allies and smite undead foes.
The Paladin’s spells are designed to be powerful but very situational. With such a small selection of spells with very specific functions, resource management is of utmost importance. During our first session, the Paladin was incredibly hesitant to unleash Turn Undead upon his foes. “What if the next room has MORE skeletons?” “These are just zombies, what if we run into some mummies?!” It was delightful to watch.
With our mighty hero completed, the next step was to give Zargon a bit more firepower to deal with the 25% influx of heroes. I decided that simply adding monsters with higher stats would be somewhat boring (and could be done on the fly anyways), so I instead opted to create a few new creatures to round things out a bit. The three that made the final cut were the Skeletal Archer, Orc Bowman, and Goblin Shaman.
These three mooks are variations on existing enemies but have new abilities and attack patterns. The Skeletal Archer and Orc Bowman give Zargon some ranged support; preventing endless crossbow bombardment from the heroes. The Goblin Shaman adds a non-boss, somewhat expendable spell-caster to the mix. I felt it was important to work some additional evil magicks into the game, both for flavour and challenge reasons. Since goblins aren’t tremendously bright, I just drew a Chaos Magic card randomly from the deck whenever a shaman went to cast a spell. Fun!
I’ve overseen two marathon sessions of HeroQuest with these rules and they seem to be a resounding success. The Paladin turned out to be a useful member of the team; often ranking higher than the Dwarf in terms of popularity! I look forward to future sessions, and seeing how the modified games holds up in later scenarios.
Feel free to use or adapt these rules for your own HeroQuest games. They’re a lot of fun! You can also check out Ye Olde Inn for more HQ resources and mods. I got all my card templates and fonts there, and it is truly a treasure trove for fans of the game.